Are Chinchillas Cuddly? [+How To Increase Cuddling]

As chinchilla owners or potential future chinchilla owners, I’m sure you all have questions such as if a chinchilla is cuddly or not and if it is possible to socialize a chinchilla in a manner that can make them more comfortable with cuddling in the future.

I had the same issues when I adopted my first chinchilla from a local breeder and wanted to know how cuddly my chinchilla would be as well.

I have now been raising my chinchilla for the past 5 years and here is what I can tell you on this topic:

So, are chinchillas cuddly? Many chinchillas do not enjoy cuddling. While some well-socialized chinchillas may enjoy cuddling after they are comfortable with you, it is also possible you adopt a chinchilla that never enjoys cuddling.

Don’t be overly disappointed by this answer.

I personally have not had an issue with my chinchilla when it comes to cuddling or her being cuddly and want to use the rest of this brief post to break that down for you.

A cuddly chinchilla is 100% possible and I believe I have the detailed plan and approach for you to enjoy cuddling with your chinchilla just as I have during these first 5 years.

The rest of this post is designed to break that down for you in-depth.

are-chinchilla-cuddly

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Are Chinchillas Cuddly and Do Chinchilla’s Cuddle

Here’s the deal with a chinchilla cuddling.

As stated when we kicked off this post, some chinchillas are going to be more cuddly than other chinchillas.

It will all depend on the socialization of your specific chinchilla, their past upbringing, and how you build a bond and trust with them after arriving home after the adoption.

Chinchillas take several weeks to adjust and to get used to their new environment.

Chinchillas may show affection and love, but they don’t like being overly handled or held in many circumstances.

Especially during the first weeks of getting home when they are still feeling you out and trying to get a grasp on your home, and how you will handle them.

Don’t let this news turn you away though.

After just a week or so, my chinchilla started warming up and interacting with me much more than she did initially upon arriving home.

With some proper conditioning, respect of your chinchillas’ space, and some patience, your chinchilla can show more love and affection towards you than you may think.

Especially when your chinchilla begins recognizing you as their owner.

This is especially important during the initial weeks when you return home or bring your chinchilla home for the first time.

Your house makes noises, produces smells and your chinchilla needs to take everything in before becoming comfortable.

Chinchillas do get scared relatively easily so it is important never to force the cuddling or handling (more on this later)

Your furnace may kick on and make some small clatter that may cause your chinchilla to be more reserved and scared in the initial weeks’ home.

You may be using a basement near a washer and dryer or even have young kids running around.

Depending on where you got your chinchillas such as a rescue or even a pet store such as PetSmart or Petco, these noises are likely different than what they are used to.

In addition, everything will look different and smell different to your chinchilla.

This is putting their senses into overdrive.

I know it did when my chinchilla first arrived home.

I have a small wooden hiding/nest box in my chinchilla cage, and she barely came out of it at all during the first week.

I even used a DSLR camera to record her at night, so I could make sure she was eating and drinking water.

Start Small To Increase Cuddling and Bonding and Move Your Way Towards More Affectionate Handling

One of the most significant tips I can give you is to use small spaces to your advantage.

What I mean by this is to utilize a pop-up animal tent to interact with your chinchilla in the early days and first weeks.

They are completely safe for your chinchilla.

It also eliminates the potential of making rookie mistakes when you are chinchilla proofing a room for your chinchilla to play.

They also force your chinchilla to bond and trust you much faster due to having limited space to run around.

It’s what I attribute to my bond growing and my chinchilla being overly cuddly quickly into the relationship with me.

They are plenty large enough for you and others to sit inside of and it will take only a few days for your chinchilla to warm up to you.

My chinchilla was sitting on my shoulders within a few days using this approach.

I used this exact pop-up tent to interact with my chinchilla. (Link to Amazon)

You can also read my post about other fantastic chinchilla playpens here.

Trust me, if cuddling is something you desire out of becoming a chinchilla parent, this is going to take you to that point much faster.

Not to mention, they are enclosed, your chinchilla can’t run away and there are no further dangers of wire chewing or other issues.

It’s awesome.

Plain and simple.


Do Chinchillas Like To Cuddle?

Again, you may adopt a chinchilla from a breeder near you and luck out and get a chinchilla that loves to cuddle.

You may also adopt a chinchilla that does not warm up to cuddling for a long time or never warms up to cuddling.

It is luck of the draw and how you approach the situation with your chinchilla.

The more time you work with your chinchilla and socialize your chinchilla, the better.

Learn to read your chinchilla’s body language and respect whatever messages they are sending you.

This could be postures or even noises they are making towards you.

Most frequently, if they are scared or agitated, it is likely they may bark at you to inform you that they are not in the mood to cuddle.

If this happens, respect that and try again another day.

Learn how to get your chinchilla in and out of the cage properly.

You also need to learn how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held before moving into the cuddling phase.

All of this effort, bonding, and respect for your chinchilla is ultimately going to give you a much better chance at having a chinchilla that is willing and enjoys to cuddle with you now and in the future.

Trust me, if you start working on these things, your chinchilla will eventually like to cuddle with you.

At least, that is how it has been for me.

Work on it and cuddling will increase and get better as you learn your chinchilla and their common behaviors.

I promise.

Can You Cuddle A Chinchilla In the First Days Home?

Although you may luck out and find a chinchilla that loves to cuddle and be held, it’s not extremely common.

It’s not recommended during the first few weeks.

This is when your chinchilla will be the most fearful and defensive and certainly not in the mood for cuddling.

Period.

Attempting to pick up your chinchilla or placing your fingers in their faces may not even be a good idea during the first week.

This is likely when you may even experience your chinchilla bite you are during these first few weeks home.

Don’t get me wrong.

Chinchillas are extremely friendly soft loving pets but any pet, when scared out of their mind, can act a bit differently than they will when they are warmed up.

Like I said, my chinchilla didn’t do much except sit in her hiding box when I first got her home.

I gave her some treats over the next week or so and made it her come to my hand to get them just to begin building the bond.

In addition, I got her out for dust baths.

You can learn how to give your chinchilla a dust bath here.

She was shy and scared during this time, but at the end of the day, she slowly starts coming around and getting used to the environment.

At the end of the day just ensure you continue to spend time with your chinchilla to ensure they don’t get lonely.

While a chinchilla may not be the most cuddly creature, they are certainly an extremely social pet.

Lack of attention for a chinchilla can certainly lead to boredom.

Boredom can even lead to depression.

Accommodate, adjust, and go with the flow.

Chinchillas Become More Cuddly As Time Passes

After your chinchilla is comfortable with the environment, things begin to change, and you can start to see the love.

My chinchilla took about 7-10 days for this transition once we arrived home.

After she was comfortable, I began attempting to condition her some and let her know that I’m safe and one of the good guys.

I would get her out for about 30-45 minutes every day and interact with her.

Now, a few weeks into it, she will jump on me, sit on my shoulders, climb on my head, and from time to time even nibble my ear.

My goal during this phase was to really show her that I’m safe and build the association, that I represent pleasure and safety.

I never invaded her space non-invited.

You shouldn’t do this either if you ever expect your chinchilla to cuddle with you.

If your chinchilla gets squirrely when you pick them up, set them down.

If they scatter when being touched or petted in the first week or so, wait for them to come to you.

I’d offer small treats, allow her to eat out of my hand, and would even bring the dust bath into the room where we have out of the cage playtime each day.

My Story About How Cuddly My Chinchilla Is

Now things have shifted dramatically.

Me just walking into the room near her, gets her excited, and to the front of her cage ready to play.

I can pet her in the cage and outside of the cage.

She loves being scratched behind her ears and under her chin (no pun intended).

Now, during playtime, she is cuddly.

She was not cuddly in the beginning but she has become very cuddly since.

It’s just how it goes with chinchillas as they slowly get comfortable.

Well, sort of…

If I lay down on the floor, even though the room is decent sized, she will burrow into my chest, lay on my shoulder, or just hang out for several minutes.

We haven’t taken a nap together by any means and cuddled up for a movie day, but she’s undoubtedly beginning to warm up and show how great chinchillas can be as pets.

Don’t overdo it and allow them time.

Trying to push the issue too much will just have them fleeing in the option direction from you.

No need to have your chinchilla wanting to run away from you.


The Cons of Forcing Cuddling With A Chinchilla

Forcing it too much in the beginning or in general can cause a lot of anxiety and stress in your chinchilla.

If you have never owned before, you may run into what’s known as a fur slip.

I have a post that discusses all the reasons why chinchillas lose their fur that you can see here.

A fur slip is nothing more than a defense mechanism chinchilla’s use in the wild to protect themselves from enemies.

I don’t think you want to experience the feeling that you pushed it too much and your chinchilla is that frightful of you.

Chinchilla shedding is normal.

That’s perfectly okay.

You don’t need to rush to purchase a brush or groom your chinchilla.

If, however, it’s a large patch of fur that takes the chinchilla down to the skin, you need to back off.

Give them space and stop attempting to force any form of cuddling.

Kids Should Avoid Over Cuddling A Chinchilla

During the warming-up period, don’t beat yourself over cuddling with your chinchilla and scaring them into a fur slip.

It happens, and the fur will grow back.

It’s going to happen to you several more times over the next 15 years.

My 2-year-old son was the first person to make my chinchilla have a fur slip for trying to force cuddling and handling a bit aggressively or too often.

Now they interact with each other and are perfectly fine.

It’s about finesse, taking things slow, and building that bond with your chinchilla if you ultimately want to reach the cuddle time in the future.


How To Get Your Chinchilla To Cuddle With You, Take It Slow

I’ve noticed over the past couple of months that the smallest things make the most significant difference.

I believe this is what has led my chinchilla to be more open to cuddles and interaction with me and my family.

She sits near me in my home office all day, and I’ll randomly talk to her.

I clean her cage daily and give her a treat while doing so.

I pet her in her cage but only if she comes to me, and I just treat her with the same respect that I would treat any other animal.

If she’s not in the mood.

I leave her alone.

Plain and simple.

If she is in the mood to cuddle, I show her attention (when I have the time of course).

It’s straightforward in all honesty and doesn’t take much to pick up on the signs your chinchilla is sending you.

To get your chinchilla to enjoy being cuddled, just use all of the tips we have discussed thus far into my post and I promise, they will begin to warm up to you.

Signs That You Should Relax and Not Try To Cuddle Your Chinchilla

Chinchillas will rarely show any aggression so don’t take this section of this post in a fashion that worries you.

However, your chinchilla may show you signs that’s it’s 100% a bad idea to attempt to cuddle.

If your chinchilla is shaking in fear or is continually trying to hide or get away from you, it’s time to start rethinking your strategy.

If a female chinchilla sprays urine at you, it’s time to back off and attempt to cuddle another day.

The same could be said if your chinchilla attempts to nibble or bite you in a more aggressive fashion than usual.

Trust Will Get You Closer to Cuddle Time With Your Chinchilla

I call this the circle of trust and fear.

Picture your chinchilla as having a circle of chalk around her drawn on the floor almost like a crime scene would have.

That’s her fear and trust circle.

She may fear you in the beginning but respecting this circle begins to condition him or her towards getting used to you.

Getting used to your smells, voice, physical appearance and all that entails.

Slowly, if you just respect their space, you have conditioned them that when you’re around nothing terrible ever happens.

The circle gets smaller.

Now you can get them out to play, but the circle still exists.

Don’t push it.

Let them out, and if they want to jump and poop on your head, that’s fine.

It’s up to them.

However, just always remember to build this trust first and let the cuddling take place after.

It’s as easy that my friends.

Once The Trust Is Built, Maintain It.

Eventually, the circle does disappear.

For me, this took about 3 weeks total as I stated before.

I can grab her, place my fingers in her face, let her jump all over me and she gets excited anytime I’m around.

Just give it time and show some respect and the cuddles will follow.


Don’t Be Alarmed if Your Chinchilla Never Cuddles

Also, you need to keep in mind that not all chinchillas are the same.

They don’t all enjoy interaction the same or want to cuddle.

This may take years to overcome, or it may never happen in general.

The key is to remain patient and realize it’s just the luck of the draw with your chinchilla.

With some dust bath time, treats, and proper care and handling, I have full faith your chinchilla will eventually be ready to show some love towards you and yes, eventually even cuddle.

That’s when it becomes the most fun as a chinchilla owner.

The head sitting, shoulder running, leg jumping, ear nibbling time is what we all are looking for.

Well, at least I was.


Some Chinchillas Are Very Cuddly And Some Are Not

At the end of the day, if you follow these directions, I’m confident you can form that unbreakable bond with your chinchilla and have a chinchilla willing to cuddle with you.

It is possible to get your chinchilla to enjoy being cuddled with some effort, consistency, and love.

Period.

Eventually, they come around and realize you’re the boss but also that you love them.

They love you too and enjoy your company and time out of the cage.

Be sure always to set aside time each day to let your chinchilla play and interact with you and the family.

Don’t push the envelope too much and eventually, you will be thrilled you made the decision to get a chinchilla as the family pet.

Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchilla and hope they enjoy cuddling with you!

Share Your Thoughts About How Cuddly Your Chinchilla Is?

What’s your experience with cuddling your chinchilla?

What did you do to increase your chinchilla’s attitude towards being cuddled more frequently?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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